When Jimmy Spratt denied having used the term “nutter”, he was lying and he knew it. When William Humphrey claimed a Tricolour had been thrown on top of a bonfire from Divis flats… When the DUP put out information claiming the Union Flag flies 365 days a year in 90% of GB Councils (including, say, Watford), they were collectively lying, and they knew it.
For the record, the Bible is quite clear about what it thinks about lying.
Meanwhile, the DUP group on Newtownabbey Council managed to force the stoppage of a theatre production which, DUP Councillors assumed, was mocking the Bible (thankfully their own Deputy Mayor and other parties’ Councillors managed to overturn this, but the reputationsl damage was done).
Let us leave aside the sheer hypocrisy of that and focus on what matters here: free speech is a fundamental requirement of any democracy.
It was indeed for free speech that East Germans marches prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall – because they knew you cannot have democracy, and free and open debate, without free press and free speech.
Let us not be in any doubt: the majority in the DUP, the party the voters of Northern Ireland have made the largest party at all levels of government, is opposed to free speech and thus fundamentally anti-democratic. It is opposed to British Libel laws for this reason (so much for being “British”), and it blocked this play for this reason.
Free speech means free speech. It cannot be restricted only to things you agree with. It cannot be restricted only to things which happen not to offend you. It cannot be restricted only to certain groups or people.
It is time the electorate woke up and realised if they want to live in a democracy, they had better stop voting for anti-democratic parties like the DUP. And parties which profess to be democratic had better stop negotiating pacts with such enemies of democracy.